Against the requirement of more than 900 nurses, OGH has a poor record of just 312 staff nurses
The key first line of defence at the hospital is thinly stretched out.
Against a requirement of more than 900 nurses, the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) has a poor record of a mere 312 staff-nurses. This translates into each nurse taking care of 70 to 100 patients at the premier government tertiary hospital.
The severe shortage of nurses at the hospital severely affects patient care. “Many patients complain that we do not give adequate time or attention to them, but they should realise that we are overstretched and overworked,” a nurse said.
According to the Medical Council of India (MCI) norms, in general wards, typically, one nurse should be attending to as many as five patients, while in emergency wings, two patients should be looked after by one nurse. This seldom happens at OGH.
The 312 nurses at the hospital work in three shifts each on a daily basis, which brings the number to just 100 nurses available to patients at any point of time on a single day. The hospital has 1,168 officially sanctioned beds, but the number has gone up to 1,300 over the years.
“All our nurses put in their best, but even their best is not enough given the shortage of staff. Typically, only one nurse has to take care of 70 to 100 patients in a general ward at OGH, and this is impossible. Sadly, nurses bear the brunt of public ire,” says M. Annamma, president, AP Nurses’ Association, and Head Nurse, OGH.
According to estimates, OGH needs an additional 600 nurses to take care of the ever-increasing number of patients and medical departments. Every year new units are added to the hospital. However, there has been no corresponding increase in the number of nurses.
“Everybody blames nurses for not attending to patients promptly. From the general ward to surgical to emergency units and also handling the constant demand of the ICU, the number of nurses at the hospital is not adequate. There is an urgent need to recruit nurses for better patient care,” says former OGH nurse K. Sujavathi.